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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2011
Jacqueline Proctor, (304) 558-2000
Catherine Zacchi, (304) 957-9340
Governor Releases August “Open for Business” Report
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today released the latest “Open for Business” report documenting the state’s economic progress. The August 2011 report highlights projects and related announcements from businesses both large and small that will assist with the creation of new jobs and the preservation of existing jobs.
Tech Park in South Charleston to receive $5 million grant
The West Virginia Regional Technology Park (former Dow Tech Park) will receive a $5.25 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The grant is the largest the agency has awarded to date this year. The funds will enable the Technology Park to renovate a major lab building on the South Charleston campus. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III, along with Representatives Shelley Moore Capito and Nick Rahall, worked on behalf of the Tech Park to get the grant. The award comes through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
West Virginia receives third credit rating upgrade for third year in a row
Fitch Ratings has raised West Virginia’s general obligation debt outstanding to “AA+.” That’s an upgrade from the previous “AA” rating. Fitch also raised its rating on outstanding appropriation-backed debt of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) and School Building Authority from “AA-” to the higher “AA.” Fitch also gave an “AA” rating to the upcoming WVEDA lease revenue refunding bonds, 2011 series A. Fitch based its ratings on the “state’s consistently positive financial operations, including the expansion of reserves and ongoing commitment to reducing long-term liabilities.” Moody’s confirmed the state’s rating of Aa1 and rated the refunding bonds Aa2, which was expected, as appropriation debt is typically rated one notch below the general obligation rating.
West Virginia among few states with no debt for unemployment loans
West Virginia is among the few states not in debt to the federal government for unemployment compensation loans, WorkForce West Virginia recently reported to a legislative interim committee. A total of 29 other states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands (a U.S. territory) depleted their unemployment compensation trust funds. As of July 5, 2011, those states have borrowed $41.78 billion in federal loans to cover claims. The federal loans require those states to pay 4 percent interest on the loans and to increase unemployment compensation tax rates on employers each year until the debts are paid. Having no unemployment compensation debt is expected to give West Virginia an advantage in attracting businesses to expand or locate in the state.
State film office unveils online production services directory; Aug. 26 deadline to register
The deadline to register to be included in the new West Virginia Film Office Production Services Directory is Aug. 26. The new directory will go live online Sept. 1. The new directory’s easy-to-use interface allows the state’s film industry workers and support service companies to control their own listings. Users can upload resumes and company brochures. Support service companies range from lodging facilities and caterers to motor home and other transportation rentals, from lumber companies and heavy equipment rentals to security firms and telecommunications rentals and more. The registration address is www.wvfilm.com/NEWPSD.
New hydro power plant construction underway in Pleasants County
American Municipal Power broke ground recently on a new $276 million hydroelectric power plant at the Willow Island Locks and Dam. The plant is expected to generate 400 jobs during the construction phase. When the plant becomes operational in 2015, it will employ nine full-time workers.
Reopened mine produces 250 jobs in Raleigh County
A mine closed for more than 20 years has reopened, creating 250 jobs for miners and administrative staff. The Affinity Mine is owned by Affinity Coal Company, a subsidiary of United Coal, located in Sophia, Raleigh County.
State National Guard wins Navy contract, creates 25 jobs
The West Virginia National Guard won a Navy contract to store and maintain tents, lights and other equipment to make deployable bases. The 25 jobs created by the contract are geared to state National Guard personnel with the necessary skill sets. The contact is expected to contribute $4.1 million to the state’s economy.
Vandalia Research wins $1.04 million flu vaccine contract
Biotechnology firm Vandalia Research has been awarded a $1.04 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for a flu vaccine technology program. The program will focus on the scale-up and pre-clinical development of a pandemic flu vaccine manufactured by Vandalia. The 18-month project will be conducted in cooperation with staff from the Fran Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics at Old Dominion University in Virginia and the Center for Predictive Medicine at the University of Louisville.
Marshall University receives $5 million for sports medicine research center
The Cline Family Foundation donated $5 million toward a $25 million indoor practice facility and research center at Marshall University. The West Virginia Research Trust Fund match, popularly known as Bucks for Brains, matched the donation. The student-athlete academic center will include a sports medicine translation center and an 18,000-square-foot research center.
WVEDA approves $1.15 million for expansion of Preston County business
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) approved a loan for $1,150,000 during its August 2011 meeting:
- FMW Inc., $1,150,000, to finance its facility expansion, which will allow the company to increase output. FMW produces Titanium Matrix Composites (TMC), an engineered material system that uses silicon carbide fiber. The titanium matrix is reported to match the strength and stiffness of steel at half the weight. The material is used in military, space and commercial airspace applications. FMW currently has 40 employees based in Northpointe Business and Industry Park in Bridgeport.
Industries of the Future-West Virginia Named “Champion of Energy Efficiency”
Industries of the Future-West Virginia is one of four nationwide “Champions of Energy Efficiency” chosen by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The awards recognize leadership and accomplishment in the energy efficiency field. Winners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in program implementation, research and development, energy policy or private sector initiatives. The winners were chosen from more than 70 applicants. Selection criteria were based on each nominee’s impact, innovation, and leadership in the energy efficiency field.
West Virginia ranks #5 in Southern Business & Development Top 100 Projects
West Virginia and the Macy’s fulfillment center rank in fifth position for job creation in the magazine Southern Business & Development’s 2011 Top Job Projects. When fully operational in 2012, the Macy’s fulfillment center is expected to create 1,200 full and part-time jobs and 700 seasonal jobs.